We all know that healthy eating is good for our body and mind. From lowering cholesterol to trimming our waistline, healthy eating has loads of benefits. But for some, the idea of healthy eating might stir up images of choking down bland food that leaves you craving something else.
The good news is that healthy food doesn’t have to be unappealing or dull. You can eat well and enjoy it! In fact, healthy foods that taste good are all around you. Whether you’re craving something spicy, sweet, or creamy, there are plenty of nutritionally packed foods that are both good for you and tasty.
Below are several foods that offer health benefits and taste good too.
Blueberries are a powerhouse when it comes to healthy foods that taste great. They are packed with antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which are thought to promote vasodilation of the blood vessels and subsequently prevent high blood pressure.1
Blueberries not only taste good, but they are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add a handful to cereal, salads, and yogurt.
Avocadoes often top the list for healthy foods that taste good for a few reasons. Avocadoes are creamy and almost have a buttery texture. But beyond their taste, avocados are packed with nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B-6, C, and E. Plus, they are a good source of monounsaturated fats.
Although fat often gets a bad rap, your body needs healthy fat to function optimally. Healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats may decrease bad cholesterol levels, which in turn can reduce your risk of a stroke or heart attack.2
In addition to topping a salad or toast with avocado, you can add some to scrambled eggs, sushi, or as a substitute for mayo on a sandwich.
If you are craving a crunchy snack, almonds are a great choice. Almonds are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, and protein. One ounce of almonds has 6 grams of protein. Plus, the antioxidants in almonds may provide health benefits, including a reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and markers for insulin sensitivity.3
Almonds are relatively high in calories, so you don’t want to go overboard. But grab a handful for a quick snack or add some to spinach or green salads for a little crunch.
Sweet potatoes are a good choice for carbohydrates and contain vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A.
Research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied the link between vitamin A intake and reduced rates of cancer. A decreased risk of lung cancer was found to be linked to an increased intake of vitamin A vegetables, especially garland chrysanthemum and sweet potato leaves.4
You can drizzle a bit of olive oil or sprinkle some cinnamon on sweet potatoes and eat it as a side dish. You can also add mashed sweet potatoes into pancakes or swap tomatoes for thin slices of cooked sweet potatoes in sandwich wraps.
If you’re looking for healthy foods that taste good, you might be surprised to find out that dark chocolate offers some positive health benefits. Dark chocolate contains key minerals, including magnesium, iron, and zinc, that help the body develop and stay healthy. But the main benefit comes from flavonoids that are in the cocoa.
Flavonoids are compounds which are found in many types of vegetables and fruits, along with certain teas and chocolate. There are different types of flavonoids, including flavan-3-ols, which is found in cocoa and chocolate products. Flavonoids may play a role in improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.5
This doesn’t mean you have a license to eat all the chocolate you want in the name of healthy eating. But if you are craving a sweet treat, it is better to reach for a piece of dark chocolate over other types.
No list of healthy foods that taste good is complete without adding salmon. Salmon is a good source of protein and vitamins B and D. But its fatty acids are what make it a stand out.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to have several health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But some studies also suggest that omega-3s may also play a role in reducing the rates of certain mental health issues, including depression.6
You can prepare salmon in a variety of healthy ways, such as smoked, grilled, or baked. Salmon is an excellent alternative to other types of protein. For instance, instead of beef, make salmon burgers or add it to salads instead of ham.
Bread probably doesn’t come to mind when you think about healthy food. But not all bread is created equal. For example, Ezekiel bread might be one of the best choices in breads. That’s because it is made of several types of legumes and sprouted whole grains, which have numerous nutritional benefits.
The sprouted grain process involves soaking whole grains in water to allow the seeds to sprout. The sprouting process releases certain enzymes that break down carbs, which makes sprouted grain products such as Ezekiel bread lower on the glycemic food index than white bread.
Sprouting grains is also thought to increase the nutritional content. Research in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that sprouting wheat increased the level of beta-carotene, folate, and vitamin C and E.7
Ezekiel bread is available in different varieties, such as cinnamon and raisin, which is great for breakfast, or try whole grain or sesame sprouted for sandwiches.
Hummus is a tasty snack made by mixing chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ground sesame seeds, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor. Each individual ingredient of hummus has nutritional benefits. Garlic and olive oil, for example, are known for their immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. But chickpeas, which are a type of legume, are a nutritional standout rich in folate, fiber, and protein.
Some studies have shown that legumes may decrease bad cholesterol and help lower blood pressure. For instance, a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that those who ate legumes had more of a reduction in LDL, total cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure, and also had greater weight loss than those that followed a low-calorie, legume-free diet.8
To pack even more of a nutritional punch, you can swap the chips or pita bites for carrot sticks or bell pepper slices for dipping in hummus.
Very few of us eat healthy all the time. But eating food that is good for you doesn’t have to be boring or a chore. You can enjoy these healthy foods that taste good while also reaping the nutritional benefits! Better yet, consider getting a ZYTO galvanic skin response scan to discover healthy & tasty foods that your body prefers.
About MaryAnn DePietro
MaryAnn DePietro has written about all things medical, as well as health, fitness, pregnancy, and parenting for various websites, magazines, and newspapers. She has a degree in Rehabilitation from Penn State University and a degree in respiratory therapy. In addition to writing, she works as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in California.
1. Johnson, S. A., Figueroa, et al. “Daily Blueberry Consumption Improves Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Postmenopausal Women with Pre- and Stage 1-Hypertension: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115, no. 3 (2015): 369-377.
2. “Monounsaturated Fat.” American Heart Association, Inc. Heart.org.
3. Wien, M., D. Bleich, et al. “Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 29, no. 3 (2010): 189-197.
4. Jin, Y. R., Lee, M. S., et al. “Intake of vitamin A-rich foods and lung cancer risk in Taiwan: with special reference to garland chrysanthemum and sweet potato leaf consumption.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 16, no. 3 (2007): 477-488.
5. Rostami, A., M. Khalili, et al. “High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves blood pressure in patients with diabetes and hypertension.” ARYA Atherosclerosis 11, no. 1 (2015): 21-29.
6. Bentsen, H. “Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, brain function and mental health.” Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 28(sup1) (2017): 1281916.
7. Yang, F., T.K. Basu, & B. Ooraikul. “Studies on germination conditions and antioxidant contents of wheat grain.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 52, no. 4 (2001): 319-330.
8. Hermsdorff, H. H. M., M.A. Zulet, et al. “A legume-based hypocaloric diet reduces proinflammatory status and improves metabolic features in overweight/obese subjects.” European Journal of Nutrition 50, no. 1 (2011): 61-69.